Review: Lenovo Ideapad S10

Posted by Minnaar Pieters 26 Dec 2008
lenovo s10

After my girlfriend's HP laptop gave up the ghost, I decided to get her a netbook. Why? Well, based on her usage of a computer a netbook is just simply perfect.

After looking at the top sellers like the Acer Aspire, MSI Wind, Asus eeePC amongst others, I came across the Lenovo Ideapad S10. Now, I have seen it in pictures. But then I saw a stunning red one in person. It just looks awesome.

After looking at its specs I decided to go for it. It has a largish 160 gig drive, a 10 inch LED display, 1 gig ram, and a Atom processor. And also no learning curve of Ubuntu or "flavour of the week" Linux distro. It comes with XP Home. Perfect for her needs. Here is the full specs:

  • 1.6GHz N270 Intel Atom Processor
  • 1GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz
  • Windows XP Home Edition (SP3)
  • 10.2" WSVGA AntiGlare TFT with integrated camera 1024x600
  • 160GB 5400rpm hard drive
  • Intel GMA 950 Integrated Graphics
  • Broadcom 11b/g Wi-Fi wireless and Bluetooth
  • 4-in-1 Media card reader and ExpressCard slot
  • 3-Cell Li-ion battery
  • Size: 9.8" x 7.2" x 1.2" (including feet)
  • Weight: 2.64 lbs (with 3-cell battery)
  • Price: R5000 (about $500)

It has a shiny metallic red outer casing which looks great, a white interior which give it a very "white stripes" look combined with red outside and black screen :-). I thought my macbook looks good. This looks so much better. It's light as well - just over a kilogram. I think this is the ideal traveller's size - I wish I could use it on days I commute by bicycle.

The build quality is much better than the comparable models by other makes - and to be honest I have always been a fan of Lenovo machines. After using Thinkpads for a long time I was happy to see that Lenovo continued the Thinkpad tank like build. And their ideapad brethen is not far off. The keyboard takes a little getting used too - its small, but at least it is quite rigid. The trackpad is really tiny, and the mouse buttons are in the right places, not on the sides of the trackpad like some other netbooks.

At first I was a little hesitant about the Atom processor. But at 1.6 GHz and hyperthreading ability it might not be so bad. 1 Gig RAM is also too little for my tastes, with the cost of RAM so low these days you should really try to max out the RAM. Which is what I did. First thing I did when I took it out the box is pop in a 2gig RAM chip. And yes, it makes this machine really zippy, and I am really impressed.

Running apps like Office is quite brisk, iTunes runs without problems and videos actually look quite good on the little 10 inch LED screen. Battery life is acceptable - it lasts a little over two hours with wifi on. Now, this is with a incredibly tiny 3 cell battery installed, I assume it will be much more respectable with 6 cell. Maybe it will be its next upgrade.

My niggles? The trackpad is really, really small. But maybe I am just used to my Macbook's large trackpad. The screen resolution is really small. 1024 by 600 is just too little. I see that the latest HP netbook 10 inch model actually has a 1280 pixel screen. And I dont like to use XP anymore. I would like to see Vista as standard, maybe it will run slow as molasses though. (I think I should just do it. I have read some good reviews on how it runs Vista, and then I can use that SD card slot as a Readyboost port :-)). Obviously the lack of a optical drive can give people some problems, but you can use drive sharing from a close by computer or just get a external one for about $60.

And when is the last time you used a DVD drive? We have the internet now.

Overall I think this is perhaps one of the coolest laptops I have come across. It is small, light, looks great and has enough ooomph to keep most people happy. What a great little machine. I might have to get one myself.
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I am a R&D Analyst in Stellenbosch South Africa who has a immense passion for all things tech related. I embrace technology, open source and web standards, and I participate and contribute to the social web.